Paying It Forward

Lisa Madden

Lisa Madden, center, with her children Will, Elizabeth, Cate and Joe. Will will be attending Tulane in the fall.

Alumni Spotlight Lisa (Kelloway) Madden (NC ’88, MBA ’89)

Freshly armed with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Newcomb College and an MBA from the A. B. Freeman School of Business, Lisa (Kelloway) Madden (NC ’88, MBA ’89) started her first job as a tax associate at KPMG in 1989. Today, more than 30 years later, Madden is part of the firm’s senior leadership, serving as vice chairman, risk management, and she credits her Tulane education as the foundation for her success.

“I was able to start off right out of the gate,” she says. “At Freeman, they instilled real-life work experience into our education. We didn’t leave campus as book smart people who struggle to apply their practice in the real world. We left actually quite capable to succeed in whatever new jobs we were thrown into.”

Tulane gave Madden the rare opportunity to study both liberal arts and business in an accelerated five-year bachelor’s/MBA program. The combination of liberal arts and business offered a comprehensive education that armed Madden with critical-thinking skills. “I left the school with a really unique degree that I attribute a lot of my success to.”

A first-generation college student, Madden was able to attend Tulane only because of a full-tuition scholarship. “I owe a debt of gratitude to Tulane for what it has done for me,” Madden says.

At Tulane, she enjoyed close friendships with classmates and supportive professors who cared whether their students succeeded, both academically and emotionally. “We weren’t just students to them,” says Madden.

Madden says she grew up at KPMG as a tax professional, mainly working in mergers and acquisitions and international tax. Through the years, Madden has worked in many areas of the firm, all experiences that readied her for her new senior role.

At KPMG, Madden has been able to achieve work-life balance. She has four children who range in age from 11 to 17. For a time when they were younger, she changed her schedule to three- or four-day work weeks. Her work ethic and assignments made that possible, allowing her to work according to her own schedule. “The professional services industry is demanding, but there are opportunities to find flexibility. KPMG has a caring culture that supports employees at every stage of their career journey.”

Madden and her husband, David, have been generous to Tulane, giving back to a variety of areas of the university. Several years ago, they established a fund supporting a Cowen Scholar. Madden feels strongly about giving back to foster opportunities for the students who are following in her footsteps.

“I still owe so much to Tulane,” she says. “The institution and community did so much for my life. There are people with similar challenges that I faced at the start of my college education. If they are given the opportunity to attend Tulane, it will make a huge difference in their life and equip them for personal and professional success.”

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